Artefact of the month - July 2009
History of Java, by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, 2nd ed - London, Murray, 1830
The history of Java. Antiquarian, architectural, and landscape illustrations of the history of Java, by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles - London, Bohn, 1844
Zoological researches in Java, and the neighbouring islands by Thomas Horsfield - London : Kingsbury, Parbury, & Allen, 1824
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles was born in July 1781. He had an adventurous life, he was Lieutenant-Governor of Java and founded Singapore. On his return to England, Raffles set up the Zoological Society of London in 1826, becoming its first President but he sadly died unexpectedly in July 1826.
Raffles was a remarkable collector and scholar, enthusiastically researching all aspects of natural and cultural history, civilization and languages in the countries which are now Indonesia and Malaysia. His History of Java is the still the starting point for studies of this area. It was first published in 1817.
ZSL Library holds a second edition of History of Java published in 1830 and a separate volume of maps and plates. Chapter 1 does contain an account of the animal kingdom in Java but Raffles' natural history role whilst in Java seemed to be as a patron, collector of specimens and commissioner of illustrations. His patronage of the work of Thomas Horsfield was of major importance. As a result of this patronage, Horsfield’s discoveries and specimens went to Britain. He published Zoological researches in Java, and the neighbouring islands, a plate from this book is featured below.
Please see the July 2007 Artefact for the portrait of Sir Stamford Raffles by Sir James Lonsdale. In this portrait Raffles hand rests on a copy of History of Java